Mount nurses bring half ton of health supplies to Dominican Republic

February 09, 2012

Newburgh, NY -

Mount Nurses in the Dominican Republic

(Left) Jessica Matuszewski, a Mount Saint Mary College student from Goshen, NY, helps care for a young patient in the Dominican Republic. (Right) Sean Murphy, a Mount Saint Mary College student from Port Jervis, NY, speaks with a family through an interpreter during a health assessment in the Dominican Republic.

Nearly two dozen Mount Saint Mary College nursing students, carrying a half ton of vitamins and medical supplies between them, traveled to the Dominican Republic last month on a humanitarian mission.

With faculty members Dianne Murphy and Ann Corcoran, they served in the poorest communities -- the bateyes, or shantytowns – as volunteers with the not-for-profit Foundation for Peace, dedicated to helping people in materially impoverished areas by providing educational support, healthcare access, economic opportunity, and hope.

Last spring, professor Murphy, along with members of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, visited the Dominican Republic, where she helped with medical supplies, set up clinics, and provided nursing care.

This year’s Mount group aided some 500 people each day during the week of their journey.

Patients were treated or referred for skin infections, dental problems and fungal infections. They often asked for vitamins and bandages – long term needs -- sometimes overlooking a more serious ailment.

“A family came in asking for vitamins, but neglected to ask for help for their little boy’s foot,” explained Jessica Matuszewski, a Mount senior from Goshen, NY, who noticed a bad burn on the child’s ankle and summoned the doctor.

Matuszewski got to assist in the procedure to debride the skin, which according to Murphy is a painful surgical process, during which dead or contaminated tissue and foreign matter is removed from a wound. Debriding is so painful it is usually completed with morphine.

“We were only able to give this little boy two children’s Tylenol and a lollipop,” said Murphy, noting the lack of health care services available in the shantytowns.

Murphy hopes to expand the program next year to include disciplines in addition to nursing, such as students in education and psychology.

Students who served in the Dominican Republic include: Hudson Valley Oncology Nursing Scholarship recipients Jennifer Maloy, New Paltz, NY and Pamela Delano, Brentwood, NY; Amber McCafferty, Newburgh, NY; Breann Quackenbush, Warwick, NY; Heather Knox, Wappingers Falls, NY; Carolyn Doerrier, Bloomingburg, NY; Susan Hannigan, Baldwin, NY; Tamara Seney, Newburgh, NY; Ashley Higgins, LaGrangeville, NY; Sean Murphy, Port Jervis, NY; Julie Patterson, Massapequa, NY; Samantha Cole, Brick, NJ; Margaret Brunton, Brooklyn, NY; Alyssa Lonnborg, Broad Channel, NY; Erin McKeon, Watertown, CT; Megan Lewis, Rocky Point, NY; Alexander Peguero-Medrano, Newton, NJ; Jessica Matuszewski, Goshen, NY; Natalie Tanski, West Paterson, NJ; Melissa Gaynor, Poughkeepsie, NY; Andrea Guzman, Forest Hills, NY; Kerry Burke ‘11 RN, of Poughkeepsie, NY, who works at White Plains Hospital; and Ron Vales ‘11 RN, of Maybrook, NY, who works at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

Mount Saint Mary College offers the only nationally accredited four year nursing degree program in New York’s mid-Hudson Valley, and boasts a NCLEX-RN passage rate in the 90s to 100.

Students in this highly competitive program hone skills working with computerized patient simulators in state of the art labs, and also in clinical experience in the field, as they pursue their bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing.

Mount graduates have been recognized in many areas. The New York State Nurses Association bestowed its Nurse Administrator of the Year award upon Margaret Armento-McDowell, president and administrator of Bermac Home Health Aides, Inc. in New Paltz, NY. Another Mount alumna, Margaret Deyo-Allers of St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital in Newburgh, NY, was named the Hudson Valley’s Top Nurse.

The Mount is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, plus specialized accrediting commissions such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).